If you’ve ever found yourself captivated by a sculpture gracing a park or stopped in your tracks to admire an extraordinary piece of urban artwork, consider yourself an art enthusiast. Public art, whether in the form of murals, mosaics, memorials, or other creative expressions, surrounds us, contributing to the vibrancy of our urban spaces and fostering connections with both locals and visitors.
In Subiaco, a place steeped in history and culture, the presence of public art is truly remarkable. So much so that there’s even a dedicated guide, the Subi Art Discovery Trail, to help you explore this artistic treasure trove. Here are a few of our personal favorites.
“Subiaco was built on a Sunday” Mural
This captivating nine-meter mural pays homage to Subiaco’s retail history. It features depictions of original shops, like the iconic Wembley Ware, that once graced the area, as well as local elements such as magpies, bicycles, cats, and dogs. Created by the talented Perth artist Mel McVee, who has adorned Perth with over fifty murals, this vibrant streetscape is a community effort. Locals came together to assist in the mural’s creation, employing a ‘paint by numbers’ approach, with over fifty enthusiastic participants.
Where to find it: Adorning the side wall of the Cat Cafe, Laneway, 147 Rokeby Road, Subiaco
“An Gorta Mor” Memorial
Translated as ‘The Great Hunger’ in Gaelic, this memorial stands as a poignant tribute to the tragic Great Irish Famine of the mid-1800s. The famine claimed the lives of up to one million people in Ireland and forced another two million to flee its deadly grasp. The memorial incorporates a Celtic double spiral motif, symbolizing the endless cycle of life and death, and features a bronze sculpture known as the ‘Childless Mother,’ representing the grief and loss of parents who sent their teenage daughters to Australia to escape the famine’s devastating effects. This memorial was unveiled by the President of Ireland in 2017.
Where to find it: Market Square, Subiaco
“Paint Subi” Project
A few years back, the City of Subiaco joined hands with FORM to launch ‘Paint Subi,’ an initiative that brought both local and international artists to our urban landscape to create a diverse range of public artwork. Some of the notable works include:
The Boy on the Bicycle: Crafted by US artist Evoca1, this piece featuring a postal worker on a bicycle alongside a black swan is deeply rooted in local imagery.
Where to find it: Australia Post building, Subiaco.
“Become What You Dream To Be”
This series of whimsical creatures, conceived by local muralist Hayley Welsh, adds a touch of enchantment to Subiaco’s laneways.
Where to find it: Laneway, 144 Rokeby Road, Subiaco.
Mural by Souix Tempestt
This riot of primary colors, courtesy of the multidisciplinary local artist Souix Tempestt, is an arresting visual feast. It exemplifies her unique approach, blending color and form to explore the intersection of abstract expressionism with the urban environment.
Where to find it: Located between New Normal and Jus Burgers, just off Roberts Road, Subiaco.
Mural in Forrest Square Car Park
This psychedelic masterpiece celebrates Australia’s multicultural community, turning an otherwise mundane space in the Forrest Walk car park into a vibrant tribute. The giant, colorful Koala, symbolizing Australia, holds a globe representing indigenous populations and the myriad cultures from around the world that have converged to shape Australia into the diverse, modern society it is today.
Subiaco’s public art scene is a testament to the town’s creative spirit, its embrace of history, and its commitment to engaging both locals and visitors in a visual journey of expression and storytelling. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore these captivating artworks that breathe life into the streets of Subiaco.